Buying Toilet Paper

Buying toilet paper is one of the least sexy things I can think of.

Last evening I was purchasing things at Trader Joes. I was proud of all of my mindful choices. Lots of organic vegetables and fruit, kombuchas, antibiotic free yogurts, organic almond milk, oatmeal and fresh flowers. At another checkout stand facing me, a very attractive middle aged woman was noticing me and my purchases. I smiled at her and she smiled at me. It was the kind of smile that suggested she might want to have sex with me. And then the checkout guy placed the large bundle of toilet paper down in front of me. I looked at her and she looked away from me.

Why did I feel so ashamed about buying toilet paper? We all do it. We all use it. But I suppose that the appearance of the toilet paper actually put a hole in the make believe bubble we all prefer to live within. Yes, we all privately use toilet paper in the most unflattering of ways, but to be publicly reminded of it creates a kind of humiliation effect.

I tried to tell myself that, yeah I use toilet paper but so what, as I stood there waiting for the checkout guy to put all of my stuff into a paper bag. Other people looked at me as well out of the corners of their eyes. I felt de-sexualized. A bit humiliated, even though I tried to play it off like I did not care. Of course the checkout guy didn’t help me out by quickly sticking the bundle of toilet paper into a paper bag. He just left it right there out in the open like he was trying to shout out, Hey look at this guy! He shits!

The attractive middle aged lady took her paper bag filled with stuff and walked out of the market. I confess to sneaking a glimpse of her behind as she walked out. Man is she attractive, I thought. But when I looked at her behind I could not help but think that she uses toilet paper also. What was the big deal? Why was it such a turn off? A person is only as attractive to another person as illusory bubble that they are able to create around themselves is devoid of any holes. Humans much prefer our fantasies about one another. There is nothing like buying toilet paper at the market to puncture large holes in your bubble.

I took the large bundle of toilet paper and placed it under my arm. I then picked up the paper bag filled with my mindfully chosen goods and walked out of the market. I did not look at anyone because I felt embarrassed by what I was carrying under my arm. When I walked outside I felt a wave of relief come over me. It was dark outside and I was no longer being exposed as the pooper that I am by the violent bright lights in Trader Joes.

I walked to my car, stuck the grocery bag and the bundle of toilet paper into my trunk and shut the trunk as quickly as possible. Phew, I thought to myself as I walked around to my driver’s side door. I noticed the attractive middle aged lady driving by me in her white Mercedes. She smiled at me again. Now feeling less humiliated by the symbol of my more animal bodily functions puncturing holes in my bubble, I felt confident enough to smile and wave goodbye at her.

Maybe I will see her around sometime, I thought. Preferably without toilet paper.

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I Am No One

I am no one. Unlike most other humans, I do not identify as any one particular individual who is separate from other things and people. I am one with everything. Your consciousness and my consciousness is the same thing. The only difference between us is these characters that we are all playing inside our heads.

For a long time I was someone and man that was miserable. Throughout my life I have had many different identities or personalities. Ben the professional tennis player. Ben the failed professional tennis player. Ben the architect. Ben the anarchist revolutionary. Ben the artist and writer. Ben the recluse and introvert. Ben, Ben, Ben, Ben, Ben……. What a bunch of bushtit that was.

Why bushtit? Because all those identities or personalities I was identified with did not really exist. Where are they now? Where did they go? What does the tree or the bird care about Ben the architect? What about all those personalities that existed two hundred years ago? Where did they go? These identities are just dreams of our imaginations. As my professor at UC Berkeley once pointed out, “Ben all of your opinions and beliefs only exist within your head, they have no separate existence outside your head. That sky up there could care less about what you think.”

I realize that our personalities or identities do have a social function. They make it easier for us to identify one another and to have things sold to us. Many believe that our separate identities (our ego) are the lungs of capitalism. In order for capitalism to breathe, we all need to purchase these identities that feel unique to us. But it is all a bunch of bushtit.

Being no one is quite wonderful. When you are no one there is no one to bother. I realize that few around me understand so I let them think that I am somebody. I want others to do what they want and unlike the actor Jim Carrey, I have little need to push my agenda or experience on anyone else. I am only writing this because, well……I want to.

You see being no one (not identified with being a specific character in my head) gives me a lot of time and freedom. I no longer have to be caught up in the very time consuming struggle of needing to be someone. I am free to just exist, to enjoy the moment, to not need to strive to be anything more than what I am now. No One. When you are no one, there really is nothing to get done. I mean sure I still clean my house, care for my garden, read books, go to work, listen to music, dress well (I enjoy wearing nice suits everyday) but I am not doing these things to be somebody in the future. I am doing them because I enjoy it in the moment. These various tasks that compose a life well lived bring me pleasure. When I was trying to be somebody, I was always trying to get someplace else and as a result was not able to enjoy these smaller aspects of my life. Now the smaller aspects of my life mean everything.

A person is only irritated being where they are at if they want to be someplace else. If a person has no desire to be someplace else there is the absence of irritation. Ever since I became no one, I have only wanted to be right where I am.

You may be wondering how I became no one? It took a lot of time. Ben the tennis player, Ben the architect, Ben the writer and artist, Ben the failure, Ben the anarchist- these identities did not go away easily. I felt like I needed to be somebody in order to live the life I wanted to live. How wrong I was! I didn’t get that it is impossible to live “a good life,” as long as you are trying to get someplace else. The Ego is never satisfied. It always wants more. It is never happy where it is at and it does not want to give up its pursuit of being somebody. It is relentless and caused me a great deal of unhappiness. Over time and lots of hardship, I was finally able to let my Ego go and become no one. It still comes back from time to time, but I notice it and send it on its way.

I have no place I want to be more than right here. Nothing I have to do. Nothing more I need to achieve. Everything feels full right now. I am free to live my life as it is in this moment without looking to the future. Once you become no one, the future is just a dream that you wake up from.

It can be tough at times because society demands that you be someone. People don’t know what to do with no one. It just makes everyone nervous. People need me to be Ben the architect in order to hold on to something. Fine. I let them do that but once you become no one, none of this matters because who are they doing it to? Society and all these people who put you in boxes, judge you, label you, demand things of you, force you to be someone you are not can not get to you once you are no one because there is no one there to get to! So I let people do their thing, because I am no thing.

It really is quite a wonderful space to dwell in, and even though the outside world is going mad because of their egoic identifications and never ending strivings to be someone, it’s ok. It is just that way things are. Doesn’t bother me since I am no one.

Eventually everyone gets the point. The unfortunate thing is that most don’t get to enjoy the point because they are unable to separate themselves from their ego until they are dead.

Sick Bed Poems, Part 2

All poems written while sick in bed and then posted on Facebook.

I Love Saturdays

I was preparing to

Take a nap on my bed.

While staring out the window

There was afternoon,

Blue sky and green plants

Swaying in the wind.

There was dog sounds, car

Sounds and time going by

Too fast sounds.

Then a naked lady with

Beautiful breasts and

Trimmed brown pubic hair

Walked by on the telephone wire.

This is why I love

Saturdays.

Slavery

It is 7:28am.

A time of

Doing nothing. Just

Sitting here with

My coffee, my

Fever, my body

Aches- listening to

Records and watching

The morning outside.

I don’t want

To do anything

But the day

Ahead is filled

With adult responsibilities,

Which just means

Things that must

Get done that

You do not

Want to do.

Poop and Pride

This morning while

Picking up dog poop

I stepped in dog poop.

I became angry, indignant

At something so beneath me.

“I’m no better than poop,”

I reminded myself

Because pride never works.

I became humble

And cleaned the poop

Off my shoe.

My Wife

I’m often grateful

For the absence

Of fear in

My wife.

I’m so riddled

By fear most

Of my life,

Always present.

This is why

I’m often grateful

For the lack

Of fear in

My wife.

Laconian Laundromat

I went into a

Laconian laundromat

With a bag filled with

Dirty clothes.

But nothing made any sense

So I left.

Sick Bed #2

Day four of

Whatever it is

Confining me to

This sick bed.

This sick bed

Is causing my

House to smell

Like a sick

House.

I gathered enough

Strength to walk

Out into my

Backyard and urinate

Under the avocado

And lemon trees.

I watched a

Hummingbird, remembered health

And then I

Walked like a

Sick man back

Into my sick

Bed.

God’s Drilling

When a boy

I thought the sound

Of an airplane

Moving across the sky

Was God drilling a hole

To get out.

Short Poetry

I’m not a very good poet,

Not like some poets I know.

That’s why I like to

Write short poetry.

Pencils, Erasers and Indignation

I feel indignation

Much of the time.

But then I remind myself,

We are just pencil lines

Drawn through infinite space

Soon enough to be erased.

The Plastic Clarinet

There is a plastic clarinet

On my dresser.

It is red,

With blue and yellow keys.

It stands there, erect

Waiting

For someone to play.

But I never do.

Not anymore at least.

Childhoods forever gone,

So I wonder why I still keep

The plastic clarinet.

Birds and Bicycles

Birds are bicycles

Moving across the sky.

Don’t believe what anyone else says.

When you are lonely

Get on your bicycle and go after them.

You will see what I mean.

Health Care

When sick

I try

Not to

Go to

Doctors.

Instead I

Spend hundreds

Of dollars

On natural

Supplements.

Throats sprays,

Immune herbs,

Nasal decongestants,

Colloidal silver,

Vitamin C,

Eucalyptus oil,

Reishi mushrooms,

Wellness Formula,

Zinc lozenges,

Raw honey,

And sometimes

A random

Lover.

I assault

My sickness

With every

Natural remedy

I can

Find and

Afford.

However now

That I

Am married

And older

Lovers are

No longer

Apart of

My health

Care.

Why I am Canceling Work Today

I’m a therapist.

When I am

Ill, your problems

make no sense

To me. Your

Problems, my problems-

All a luxury

Of health.

Strong Character

Most people

Judge but

That is

Only because

Their character

Is weak.

How many

Of you

Assholes write

An entire

Book of

Poetry while

Stuck in

Bed, sick

With flu?

This is

What I

Call strong

Character.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sick Bed Poems, Part 1.

All poems written and posted on Facebook while sick in bed over the past week.

“Fuck”

After being

Up for

An hour

Or so,

Taking care

Of a

Few Sunday

House chores,

After being

Sick in

Bed all

Day I

Sat back

Down on

My bed

And said

“Fuck” out

Loud to

No one.

Health

I want you

Back so bad

That I’m willing

To lay here

In bed for

Days on end

To have you

Back with me.

Failed Experiment

I’m a failed

Experiment.

I was raised

To be upper

Class.

Wealthy beyond all

Measure.

My childhood and

Young adult life

Filled with Private

Schools, Symphonies, Tutors,

Museums, Country Clubs,

Five Star Hotels,

Finest of Dining,

Exclusive Summer Camps,

Brand New Cars,

Clothes Shopping at

Nieman Marcus and

Nordstrom.

But for whatever

Reason it did

Not feel right

And I dropped

Out.

Now I’m an

Older man living

A lower middle

Class life and

Sometimes I wonder

What I would

Have been like

If I were

Rich.

Sickness Favors The Poet In A Person

The thing

About poetry

Is that

It is

Impossible to

Write it

When you

Have much

To do.

Poetry comes

On its

Own time,

And if

You force

It, it

Is crap.

Poetry requires

Empty space

Within which

To arise.

A busy

World like

This world

Is a

World with

Absent poets.

This is

Why being

Sick in

Bed for

Days on

End can

Favor the

Poet in

A person.

Small Pleasures

It happened once when I was 6 or 7.

Today it happened again.

I was watching a fly,

Resting on a window

With the afternoon sun warming its belly.

I could swear I saw it smiling.

Sick Bed

The past two or

Three days I’ve been

Stuck in a sick bed.

Days ravaged by

Exhaustion and nights

Tormented by a stabbing

And swollen sore throat.

Writing poetry on Facebook

For a few others to read,

It’s a remarkable thing.

Who would have ever

Thought that a sick man

Could still be creative in

The world even while

Stuck in a sick bed.

A Thought From A Psychotherapist Sick In Bed.

If you knew

The stories

I’ve heard.

Again and again.

The vast majority

Of people are

Absolutely crazy and

Completely emotionally unhinged.

Centers of a

Made up universe

That only exists

In their self

Centered and deluded

Heads. And for

The most part

These are the

Ones who don’t

Or won’t or

“Don’t need” therapy.

Just a thought

From a psychotherapist

Sick in bed.

MTV Overdose

It doesn’t happen

Anymore.

But when young it did

A lot.

I would overdose on

MTV.

Often at 1 or 2am.

When this happened

I really

Believed I was

A rock star.

Sometimes the effects lasted

Days.

Courage and Likes

It takes courage to write

Poems no one likes.

But Note To Self:

If people liked your poems

You would not be the kind of

Poet you are.

Not Giving A Shit

If

Sickness

Has

Taught

Me

One

Thing

It’s

That

I

Need

To

Improve

At

Not

Giving

A

Shit.

My Wife Likes My Poetry

Almost every

Poem I

Write I

Read to

Her.

She always

Seems to

Like most

Of what

I write,

Which is

Good since

I’m always

Unsure.

Collecting Lemons

All the

Lemons had

Fallen to

The ground.

Some decomposing,

Some not.

I felt

Bad, the

Lemons took

So much

Time to

Grow Into

What they

Became. So

I got

A green

Plastic grocery

Bag, got

Down on

Hands and

Knees and

Began picking

Them up.

“Lemons are

A good

Source of

Vitamin C,”

I told

Myself with

Mud on

My hands.

Vitamin C,

Always good

For a

Sick man.

 

(Part 2 coming tomorrow.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five Short Poems

Pencils, Erasers and Indignation

I feel indignation
Much of the time.
But then I remind myself,
We are just pencil lines
Drawn through infinite space
Soon enough to be erased.

 

The Plastic Clarinet

There is a plastic clarinet
On my dresser.
It is red,
With blue and yellow keys.
It stands there, erect
Waiting
For someone to play.
But I never do.
Not anymore at least.
Childhoods forever gone,
So I wonder why I still keep
The plastic clarinet.

 

Birds and Bicycles

Birds are bicycles
Moving across the sky.
Don’t believe what anyone else says.
When you are lonely
Get on your bicycle and go after them.
You will see what I mean.

 

Short Poem

My penis
Is not
Short,
But this
Poem is.

 

Small Pleasures

It happened once when I was 6 or 7.
Today it happened again.
I was watching a fly,
Resting on a window
With the afternoon sun warming its belly.
I could swear I saw it smiling.

When Young, How To Grow Old Gracefully.

Ok, listen. Now that all the old folk are asleep, I can tell you.

When young there are certain things that you can make sure you do in order to grow old gracefully. As someone who is 87 years old today, I think I am in a position to comment on this too often ignored subject.

So.

When Young:

-Masturbate regularly and cut the shit about feeling guilty afterwards. Common. Just have fun and blow off steam.

-Make sure you sit in the sun, in as little clothes as possible, as much as possible.

-Be outside!

-Wear bathing suits as much as the climate permits.

-Use your body. Be physical as much as you can. This is very important because those who use their bodies as much as possible when young, age the best.

-Be creative in some way.

-Be naked. Be naked as much as you can. Your body will never look as good as it does now. Get over your insecurities and just be nude, preferably around others. If you are not naked now you will feel like you missed out on something very fundamental and important when older.

-Rebel. Humans are not meant to be fit in boxes. Our brains atrophy and we grow dumb when boxed in. A dumb older person is never an attractive thing. Rebel! Those who rebel when young often maintain their edge into older age. An older person with an edge is always a sexy thing.

-Party. Go to parties. Dress your best. Look sexy. Flirt. Socialize. Be out and about. Enjoy having other people check you out. Thank them because this will not last forever. People stop checking you out as you age. These will be some of the best times of your life and it is always those who partied more when young who have better stories to tell when old.

-Do some drugs. Enjoy drinking. Maybe even smoke for a period of time. These activities will loosen up your brain, let you unload and have fun. But know moderation. Those who abuse substances when young do not look good when old. Many don’t even get to get old because of their inability to be moderate.

-Meditate. Learn how to just be in states of peace. Be present for your life. You will learn how to be a less stressed out person. An older stressed out person is always an ugly sight.

-Again, use your body but in sexual ways. Be sexual! Your body will never be as ready for sex and as desired to be sexual with as it is when young. Growing older makes a person less desirable sexually and often less interested in sexual interaction. So use it while you got it. Fuck away! Have fun! Those who are more sexual when young always grow older more gracefully. It is the ones who have tons of sexual hang-ups when young who just become dicks and bitches as they age. They also tend to grow fat but this is often because they have given up on their bodies since their bodies were always such a threat.

-Be sexy. Look good! Girl or guy, make sure you put in the time to looking the best you can. Not only will you get a lot more attention but you will also have much more fun. You will feel better about yourself and you will be desired by everyone. A young person who is attractive to everyone when young always grows older with more confidence and civility. They tend to maintain their good looks into older age because they have developed the habit of putting in the time needed to look good.

-Read as much as you can. This will help your mind from atrophying and becoming like all these forgetful and inarticulate aging dumb vegetables I am now surrounded by. Reading helps to maintain a person’s attention span and an older person without an attention span just becomes a miserable, dumb, checked-out adult. We call these people Nimrods.

-Eat healthy food. Get enough protein so that your sex drive and brain cells have enough food. Take vitamins to slow the aging process. Eat a lot of raw green vegetables to preserve your gums and teeth. Most old people who look like shit and have rotting gums when old ignored these things.

-Don’t take yourself so fucking seriously. Get out of your fucking head. You are going to die. Everyone you know and everything you do is transitory. Stop with the bullshit. Get out of your fucking head and chill out. Enjoy being young. Get over your problems because when you get to my age you will not be able to remember what they were. This means that they do not matter. So have fun. Read. Exercise. Take care of yourself. Be outside. Be in your body. Fuck. Watch porn. Meditate. Socialize. Masturbate. Exercise. Wear bathing suits. Be naked. Hang out with other people your own age. Break rules. Be creative. Rebel. Party but learn moderation. Be free-spirited. Be wild. Be strange. Look good. If you don’t do these things I promise you will not grow old gracefully. You will just be a miserable, over weight old bore sitting on the couch unable to get off your phone. Trust me. I am surrounded by them.